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Decommissioning

Although it is imperative that we shut down nuclear plants, they remain dangerous, and expensive even when closed. Radioactive inventories remain present on the site and decommissioning costs have been skyrocketing, presenting the real danger that utilities will not be able to afford to properly shut down and clean up non-operating reactor sites.

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Tuesday
Mar022010

Nuclear industry "comingling" reactor decommissioning funds possibly inflating actual funds on hand for radioactive cleanup

It could be the beginning of the revelation of a giant shell game involving limited liability corporations and the accounting for billions of dollars in decommissioning “trust” fund shortfalls. The nuclear industry is required to adequately accrue and set aside money for the environmental clean-up of shuttered nuclear power plants. But when the bottom fell out of Wall Street market many of the invested decommissioning funds experienced steep losses and have yet to recover. Meanwhile, the final cost of deconstructing and cleaning up after a nuclear power plant is determined to be about as reliable as the cost to build a new one.

Paul Gunter, Director of Beyond Nuclear Reactor Oversight Project,  participated in a meeting with the Commissioners of the NRC on February 23, 2010 along with two representatives from the nuclear industry, a state regulator and an industry consultant on the issue concerning decommissioning fund shortfalls for the massive and costly radioactive cleanup of shuttered nuclear power plants.  The meeting was covered in the Brattleboro Reformer where the embattled Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, now scheduled for closure on March 12, 2012 is presently more than $500,000,000 short in its decommissioning trust fund.  The Beyond Nuclear testimony focused on the uncertain and escalating costs of decommissioning caused by uncontrolled radioactive leaks from buried pipe beneath the reactors.

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